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Lights out at Rome's Colosseum, Other Italian Monuments on Anniversary of Kyoto Protocol

by: Associated Press    16 February 2007

The Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Trevi fountain were among monuments that went dark across Italy on Friday as part of a national demonstration of concern about climate change.

The lights were turned off at monuments, landmarks and public buildings in Florence, Venice, Naples, Bologna, Milan and Pisa - and the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in Rome -for about half an hour at 6 p.m. (1700GMT) to mark the second anniversary of the Kyoto treaty.

The treaty negotiated in 1997 calls for reining in industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" - a first global attempt to control climate change.

Thirty-five industrial nations have endorsed the pact, agreeing to cut their global-warming gases by 5 percent on average below 1990 levels by 2012.

The U.S. is not among them. President George W. Bush has made clear that his administration will not agree to the kind of mandatory emission caps required under the Kyoto protocol because his government believes the restrictions will harm U.S. businesses.

A major climate change report released earlier this month warned that global warming has begun - "very likely" caused by man and unstoppable for centuries to come. It was the most powerful language used by the world's leading scientists on climate change.

They said the signs already are visible in rising seas, killer heat waves, worsening droughts and stronger hurricanes.

On Thursday, EU energy ministers put off major decisions on an ambitious plan to turn Europe into a low-carbon economy, failing to agree on a plan to open up energy markets and set binding targets for renewable energy.